The Strategic Plan: Part 2 – What is required to successfully execute it?

Following on from The Strategic Plan: Part 1 –  A Holistic View, according to the American Management Association, one of the most challenging issues that CEO’s are concerned about is strategy execution. “it is estimated that more than 60% of strategies are not successfully implemented” (Conference Board Survey of CEOs, Conference Board, 2008)

Strategy execution is not only about implementing a strategy, it must also include understanding what is required by the business to achieve the desired results. Therefore strategic execution can be tackled in two parts:

  1. Organisational Framework/Process Requirements
  2. Operational/Functional Requirements

1. Organisational Framework / Process Requirements

The Vision. What is it that we aspire to achieve? 
The Vision needs to: 

  • be clear
  • provide direction
  • bring people together
  • be challenging 
  • inspiring
  • motivational

The Objectives. What are the targets and the actions needed to achieve them?
The Key Objectives need to be:

  • clearly defined
  • achievable
  • challenging
  • concise
  • time framed
  • measurable
  • realistic
  • documented
  • jointly agreed to
  • action oriented

Measure the Objectives. How are the action plans, metrics and outcomes progressing?
Progress is achieved by:

  • Assigning accountability for outcomes
  • Identifying key performance indicators
  • Reinforcing values and expectations
  • Provide support and development to ensure best practise is used

Progress Status Review. How will the Strategy be monitored to ensure it is producing results?

  • Review Meetings: Strategic viability is captured and is assessed during Status Reviews, held regularly and periodically within the business
  • Decision Making: The leadership team make key decisions to ensure the strategy is relevant and still on track to fulfil the business needs
  • Roadblocks: Barriers and obstacles are removed 

Communication & Engagement Plan: How will the every aspect of the strategy be clearly and effectively conveyed throughout the organisation?

  • Employee input and feedback is welcomed and valued during the entire process
  • Periodic updates based on the Progress Status Review is provided
  • Success is communicated, acknowledged and celebrated
  • Provide clear and relevant information about the strategy and the actions needed to deliver success

2. Operational / Functional Requirements

Alignment & Structure:

  • Are there sufficient resources to deliver the strategy?
  • Do the resources have the capability to deliver the strategy?
  • Is the organisational structure aligned with the strategy and objectives?
  • Are the framework and processes well aligned with the strategy and objectives?
  • Is the project team autonomous and empowered to make decisions?
  • Are the action plans, priorities and accountability’s clearly communicated?
  • Is the leadership team / stakeholders responsive to the project team?
  • Is there a simple and effect means to identify strategy success or failure?
  • How is focus maintained throughout the project?
  • Is there a project management system?

Reward system. How do you ensure your employees remuneration is aligned with the strategy?

  • All KPI’s have objectives which must be measurable
  • The remunerations system is aligned with the strategy
  • The incentive / bonus system is aligned with the strategy

Strategy execution can be challenging as it is more than just formulating a plan and implementing it. It requires a holistic look at the organisation and how it needs to operate ( and or change ) in order to support all of the actions to deliver the strategy. Questions need to be asked during the initial planning stages, which may be confronting to some. However, these can be the driver for organisational change to ensure there is the appropriate process framework and functional capability required. 

What do you think?

Andrew Baldacchino
Director – ANBA Pty Ltd

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